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others. If by wisdom you should mean vain corio. sity, and empty speculation, as such pleasures have their origin in vanity, luxury, or avarice, we are too good to pursue them.'- All this may be right,' says Asem; byt methinks I observe a solitary dise position prevail among the people; each fainily keeps separately within their own precincts, without society, or without intercourse.'- That, indeed, is true,' replied the other; : here is no established society, nor should there be any : all societies are made either through fear or friendship; the people we are among are too good to fear each other; and there are no metives to private friendship, where all are equally meritorious.'-'Well, then,' said the sceptic, • as I am to spend my time here, if I am to have neither the polite arts, nor wisdom, nor friendship, in such a world, I should be glad, at least, of aa easy companion, who may tell me his thoughts, and to whom I may communicate mine.'-And to what purpose should either do this ? says the genius :
flattery or curiosity are vicious motives, and never allowed of here; and wisdom is out of the ques. tion.'
• Still, however,' said Asem, 'the inhabitants must be happy ; each is contented with his own possessions, nor avariciously endeavours to heap up more than is necessary for his own subsistence; each has therefore leisure for pitying those that stand in need of his compassion. He had scarce spoken when his ears were assaulted with the lamentations of a wretch who sat by the way-side, and, in the most deplorable distress, seemed gently to murmur at his own misery. Asem immediately ran to his relief, and found him in the last stage of a con. sumption. 'Strange,' cried the son of Adam, that men who are free from vice should thus suffer so much misery without relief !-- Be not surprised,' şaid the wretch who was dying ; ' would it not be the utinost injustice for beings, who have only just sufficient to support themselves, and are content with a bare subsistence, to take it from their own mouths to put it into mine? They never are pos. sessed of a siugle meal more than is necessary ; and what is barely necessary cannot be dispensed with.'—They should have been supplied with more than is necessary, cried Asem ; ' and yet I contradict my own opinion but a moment before : all is doubt, perplexity, and confusion. Even the want of ingratitude is uo virtue here, since they never received a favour. They have, however, another excellence yet behind; the love of their country is still, I hope, one of their darling virtues.'--' Peace, Asem,' replied the guardian, with a countenance not less severe than beautiful, . nor forfeit all thy pretensions to wisdom; the same selfish motives by which we prefer our own interest to that of others, induce us to regard our country preferable to that of another. Nothing less than universal benevolence is free from vice, and that you see is practised here.'--'Strange!' cries the disappointed pilgrim, in an agony of distress; ' what sort of a world am I now introduced to? There is scarce a single virtue, but that of temperance, which they. practise ; and in that they are no way superior to the brute creation. There is scarce an amusement which they enjoy; fortitude, liberality, friendship, wisdom, conversation, and love of country, all are virtues entirely unknown here; thus it seems, that to be unacquainted with vice is not to know virtue. Take me, O my genius, back to that very world which I have despised : a world which has Alla for its contriver, is much more wisely formed than that which has been projected by Mahomet. Ingratitude, contempt, and hatred, I can now suffer, for perhaps I have deserved them. When I arraigned the wisdom of Providence, I only showed my own ignorauce; henceforth let me keep from vice myself, and pity it in others.'
He had scarce ended, when the genius, assuming an air of terrible complacency, called all his thua.
ders around him, and vanished in a whirlwind. Asem, astonished at the terror of the scene, looked for his imaginary world; when, casting his eyes around, he perceived himself in the very situatiou, and in the very place, where he first began to repine and despair; his right foot had been just advanced to take the fatal plunge, por had it been yet withdrawn; so instantly did Providence strike the series of truths. just imprinted on his soul. He now departed from the water-side in tranquillity, and, leaving his horrid mansion, travelled to Segese tan, bis native city; where he diligently applied himself to commerce, and put in practice that wisdoin he had learned in solitude. The frugality of a few years soon produced opulence; the number of his domestics increased; his friends came to him from every part of the city, nor did he receive them with disdain ; and a youth of misery was concluded with an old age of elegance, affluence, and ease.
ON THE ENGLISH CLERGY, AND POPU.
receive a more liberal education, and improve that education, by frequent study, more, than any others of this reverend profession in Europe. In general, also, it may be observed, that a greater de gree of gentility is affixed to the character of a sto. dent in England than elsewhere; by which means our clergy have an opportunity of seeing better company while young, and of sooner wearing off those prejudices which they are apt to imbibe even in the best-regulated universities, and which may be justly termed the vulgar errors of the wise.
Yet, with all these advantages, it is very obvious, that the clergy are no where so little thought of, by the populace, as here; and, though our divines are foremost with respect to abilities, yet they are found last in the effects of their ministry; the vulgar, in general, appearing no way impressed with a sense of religious duty. I am not for whining at the depravity of the times, or for endeavouring to paint a prospect more gloomy than in nature ; but certaiv it is, no person who has travelled will coutradict me, when I aver, that the lower orders of mankind, in other countries, testify, on every occa. sion, the profoundest awe of religion; while in England they are scarcely awakened into a sense of its duties, even in circumstances of the greatest distress.
This dissolute and fearless conduct foreigners are apt to attribute to climate and constitution : may not the vulgar being pretty much neglected in our exhortations from the pulpit, be a conspiring cause? Our divines seldom stoop to their mean capacities; and they who want instruction most, find least in our religious assemblies.
Whatever may become of the higher orders of matkind, who are generally possessed of collateral motives to virtue, the vulgar should be particularly regarded, whose behaviour in civil life is totally hinged upon their hopes and fears. Those who con. stitute the basis of the great fabric of society, should be particularly regarded; for, in policy, as architecture, ruin is most fatal when it begins from the bottom.
Men of real sense and understanding prefer a prudent mediocrity to a precarious popularity; and, fearing to outdo their duty, leave it half-done. Their discourses from the pulpit are geperally dry, methodical, and unaffecting; delivered with the most insipid calmaces ; iusomuch, that should the peaceful preacher lift his head over the cushion, which alone he seems to address, he might discover his audience, instead of being awakened to remorse, actually sleeping over his methodical and laboured coinposition.
This method of preaching is, however, by some called an address to reason, and not to the pas. sions; this is styled the making of converts from conviction : but such are indifferently acquainted with human nature, who are not sensible, that men seldom reason about their debaucheries till they are committed. Reason is but a weak autagonist when headlong passion dictates; in all such cases we should arm one passion against another: it is with the human mind as in nature; from the mixture of two opposites, the result is most frequently neutral tranquillity. Those who attempt to reason us out of our follies, begin at the wrong end, since the attempt naturally pre-supposes us capable of reason; but to be made capable of this, is one great point of the cure.
There are but few talents requisite to become a popular preacher; for the people are easily pleased, if they perceive any endeavours in the orator to please them ; the meanest qualifications will work this effect, if the preacher sincerely sets about it. Perhaps little, indeed very little more is required, than sincerity and assurance; and a becoming sin. cerity is always certain of producing a becoming · assurance. "Si vis me fere, dolendum est primum tibi ipsi,' is so trite a quotation, that it almost de. mands an apology to repeat it; yet, though all allow the justice of the remark, how few do we find put it in practice! Our orators, with the most faulty bashfulness, seem impressed rather with an awe of their audience, than with a just respect for the truths they are about to deliver; they, of all profes. sions, seem the most bashful, who have the greatest right to glory in their commission.
The French preachers generally assume all that